Winter Sleep

Film Review by Ian Mantgani | 13 Nov 2014
  • Winter Sleep
Film title: Winter Sleep
Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Starring: Haluk Bilginer, Melisa Sözen, Demet Akbağ, Nejat İşler
Release date: 21 Nov

Arriving with a Palme d’Or win and an ample 196-minute running time, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s latest contemplative drama from the Anatolian steppes sounds like a rarefied prospect. In fact, Winter Sleep is seductively mounted, with universally relatable resonance about age, class, community and our relationships to our families and ourselves. It follows Aydin, played with sententious dignity by Haluk Bilginer, a landlord and former thespian running a small resort in a Cappadocia mountain village. “My kingdom is small,” he says, “but at least I’m the king.”

Journeying through discussions with his beautiful twentysomething wife (Sözen), who wants to raise charitable funds for local schoolchildren, and his divorced sister (Akbağ), who is withering away in the hinterland, as well as Aydin’s business manager and his tenants, Winter Sleep chips away at Aydin’s perceived supremacy, revealing the passive-aggression beneath his good intentions. Unfolding as a deep, empathetic series of conversations, it’s an absorbing interplay of coldness and warmth both in its morality and in the stunning snowy landscapes and log-fire interiors of its settings. [Ian Mantgani]